Fermenting Future Visitors perspective on different yeast strains
Author: Marina Jecmenica (BOKU) The art exhibition “Fermenting Futures” at Künstlerhaus Wien came to an end and it’s time to recap and draw conclusions on the impressions left with the audience. After all, the goal of the event was to emphasize on the importance of yeast in modern biotechnology and highlight on how tightly entangled the history of humankind and this unicellular organism used to be, but most importantly how it continues to be. By the means of “BioArt”, the British artists Anna Dumitriu and Alex May showed the aesthetics behind biotechnology and revealed if and how BioArt can play a role for knowledge transfer to the general public.
Fermenting Futures
Thanks to yeast, we can enjoy beer and bread. But the microscopic fungi can do so much more than just fermentation: Yeast plays a major role in our human evolution, shapes our historical understanding of the past as a bioarchaeological trace on cultural artefacts, and is one of the most important tools of modern biotechnology. Therefore, the renowned artists Anna Dumitriu and Alex May are now dedicating their own exhibition to yeast: “Fermenting Futures” will be presented at Künstlerhaus Wien starting March 2nd, 2022.
Fermenting Futures
Arts and natural sciences have nothing in common at first sight. But if we have a closer look, sculptural artworks can be the ideal tool for exploring scientific contents from a visual perspective while reaching audiences that haven’t been targeted before. The discipline of “BioArt” allows artists to put their hands on the techniques of biotechnological science and methodologies. These first-hand experiences enable them to tell their own – science-based – story from an artistic point of view.

The COVID-19 crisis is currently affecting all of us and all eyes are set at the scientific community that is eager to find a drug or a vaccine against the virus as soon as possible. Furthermore, the European Commission has launched the Green Deal concept which includes a research budget within the Horizon 2020 program of 1 billion Euro! Let’s conclude from these two recent examples: Science is important for all of us to move forward and to find solutions to meet the big challenges of our planet. In other words: science affects all of us and life is science!

Wir sitzen nun schon alle seit geraumer Zeit in unseren eigenen vier Wänden fest. Doch wir sind auf gar keinen Fall allein! Unsere Enzymfreunde, die Enzos, sind zu Besuch am Frühstückstisch und während ich mir ein Müsli mit Milch mache, sitzen die Enzos schon da. Die Laktase rutscht aufgeregt hin und her und meint: „Weißt du, dass meine Freunde genau in diesem Moment ganz wichtig für dich sind? Die Laktasen in deinem Darm spalten nämlich den Milchzucker! Menschen mit Lactoseintoleranz haben keine Laktasen und leiden dann an Bauchweh oder Durchfall, wenn sie Milchprodukte essen.“ Die anderen Enzos wollen plötzlich auch mitreden und erklären mir, dass man aus Milch auch Joghurt und Käse herstellen kann. Gesagt – getan: Voller Vorfreude beschließen wir, heute Käse selber herzustellen.